Thailand must cash in on soft power of stars like Blackpink’s Lalisa, FTI chief advises


Thailand should consider using Lalisa “Lisa” Manoban, the only Thai member of K-pop band Blackpink, as a tourism ambassador for the country, Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) president Suphan Mongkolsutee said on Monday.

“Though Thailand has a rich cultural heritage and several natural tourist attractions, we still need to improve when it comes to adding value and integrating these resources to the manufacturing sector,” he said. “We need to promote other aspects linked with tourism such as handicrafts, spa and Thai cuisine through influencers. This is far more effective compared to only advertising spots on television and social media.”

Lalisa’s eponymously named first solo single won a record-breaking 73.6 million views in 24 hours when it was released via YouTube on September 10. It even surpassed Taylor Swift’s “Me!” which gained 65.2 million views on the day it was released in April 2019.

Meanwhile, Rida Srilomsak, president of FTI’s creative industry and handicraft group, pointed out that the government’s promotional campaigns on Thai handicrafts are usually a hit and miss.

“The government has been using yakshas [mythological guardian giants] and tuk tuks as mascots for tourism for years now. These do not promote Thai handicrafts among foreign audiences,” she said. “The ministries of Culture and Tourism and Sports must adjust their strategies and keep up with international trends. Apart from using famous artists like Lisa as brand ambassadors, we should also use online channels to deliver Thai handicraft products to target groups.”


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